Not Your Average Milestones

Over the weekend, Elvie will turn nine months old, so I scheduled her nine-month well baby visit for this past Tuesday. While we’ve got some things to monitor due to her birth defect, and she’ll be on preventative antibiotics until she has her big reconstructive surgery, she is otherwise healthy and now in the twenty-fifth percentile on the growth charts. This is huge for a baby who was severely malnourished just four months ago. You would never know, looking at our plump, cheerful baby, that she weighed less than seven pounds when she was five months old and was practically swallowed up by newborn clothing. Now she’s wearing a three-to-six month size and is sporting some serious chub. I joked that we wanted thighs worthy of gravy by Thanksgiving, and we definitely got them.


Nothing makes me happier than seeing my baby grow so well. Because of her birth defect, many of the developmental milestones aren’t applicable to Elvie’s situation, and seeing the number go up on the scale is a gratifying alternative. She has nearly tripled her weight in just four months, and is stronger and healthier than ever. However, just because she is not meeting the usual time schedule for things like rolling over, crawling, and pulling up doesn’t mean that she’s not learning new things all the time. So I’ve come up with an alternate list of milestones, to measure progress in something other than growth charts.

Baby’s First Joke She passed gas and laughed months ago, and it turns out it wasn’t a fluke. Sometimes she’ll just make a face and grin, like she’s proud of herself. She’s apparently an eight-year-old boy in the body of a baby girl.

Learning to Clap For the longest time, she’d try to get her hands together, but couldn’t quite master the coordination required. Then she could put her fists together, but was frustrated that they didn’t make the right sound. Now she can get her palms mostly together and make a satisfactory amount of noise.

Learning to Wave and Understanding That It’s a Way of Greeting Others Elvie is always trying to make friends when we are out. She usually starts by looking at someone new and smiling, and then if they don’t respond, she stares them down until they acknowledge her. Once she’s got their attention, she gives an enthusiastic wave.

Dancing While Seated or Lying Down She will wiggle her torso and bob her head from side to side in rhythm with the music. At first I thought it was coincidence, but it turns out that she has really great rhythm.

Becoming a Daredevil If she wants something, she’ll lunge for it, even if she might hurt herself in the process. She also loves to try to get out of my arms and will pitch herself backwards if she hears something behind her that she wants to see. I predict a series of regular ER visits during her childhood.

I can’t wait to see what she’ll figure out how to do next. I know she will keep growing and learning, and I am excited to see what she tackles despite the odds. If she can go from visible ribs to more-than-visible thigh chub, I figure she can do just about anything she wants to do.


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